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Future of Biofuel Isn’t Corn—It’s Algae
When they hear “biofuel,” people tend to assume you’re talking about corn. That makes sense, given that corn is anticipated to provide 80% of this year’s ethanol production?—?much more, say, than algae?—?until we consider a few numbers.

By all accounts, microalgae is less land-intensive than corn production, and although it can pull double duty, providing high-quality feed for fish farms, it doesn’t compete with food crops. Furthermore, even by by the largely pro-corn Renewable Fuel Association’s water-consumption standards, corn ethanol is a thirsty fuel: Drinking 2.8 gallons of water for every gallon of fuel refined, corn is often outclassed in efficiency by algae-based fuels.

Algae biofuel frontrunner Algenol, for example, converts plentiful saltwater into biofuel with yields nearly 17 times higher than those of corn, while producing 1.4 gallons of fresh water per every gallon of fuel produced.


 
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